British industry wants TPD scrapped after Brexit; ASH disagree
A British vaping industry group has called for the UK to take advantage of Brexit by scrapping the EU’s hated Tobacco Products Directive, which restricts the effectiveness of vapour products and increases plastic waste. The UK Vaping Industry Association told The Daily Telegraph that leaving the political union gives Britain an opportunity to create truly proportionate laws on vaping; he singled out the ban on high-strength nicotine liquids, which many smokers need for vaping to be an effective replacement, and the 10ml limit on liquid bottles.
Plastic waste is a hot political topic just now, with prime minister Theresa May urging businesses to reduce the amount of plastic packaging they use. Thanks to the EU, e-liquid companies can’t use the glass bottles with dropper caps which dominate the market in many countries; they are forced to sell huge numbers of small plastic bottles which can’t be re-used.
Although repealing the TPD has overwhelming support among vapers, there is opposition from predictable quarters. Anti-vaping activist Deborah Arnott, of Action on Smoking and Health, dismissed the issue of high-strength liquids and said, “Our view is that the regulations as they work at the moment are fine.” Many vapers would argue that, as the regulations aren’t aimed at restricting Ms Arnott’s freedoms, her opinion of them isn’t really relevant.
New US report examines e-cig fires
An updated report issued by the US Fire Administration looks at all reported incidents of explosions or fires related to electronic cigarettes between 2009 and 2016. While it contains some useful statistics its overall tone is highly alarmist, claiming that vapour products pose a “new and unique hazard”.
In fact the data included in the report were distinctly unalarming. It found that in seven years (January 2009 to December 2016) there had been only 195 reported fires or explosions involving e-cigarettes. These resulted in 38 severe injuries and no deaths. By contrast, an American is killed by a lawnmower on average once every twelve days.
The damage caused by fires and explosions was generally minor. In 91 cases – almost half – the fire affected an area less than six inches in diameter. Only 18 fires needed to be extinguished by a fire department.
The study also found that almost a third of incidents happened when “either the device or spare batteries” were in a pocket. Unfortunately they didn’t break down how many of these incidents actually involved e-cigarettes, rather than loose batteries, but it’s likely to be most of them – and that’s a battery safety issue, not a vaping one. There was also no breakdown of devices by type, although loose batteries and self-built coils were highlighted as particular hazards.
Overall this report presented a lot of data, but almost completely fails to be useful. Its real takeaway message is that e-cigarettes catch fire very rarely, but this fact will almost certainly be lost in the hysteria.
Indian academics break ranks as government continues vape crackdown
Vapers in India are being hit by a succession of state-level bans, and the federal government is also looking for a legal justification to regulate the products or shut them out completely, but some of the country’s health experts are starting to take a more enlightened view. A new study from North Eastern Hills University, in the Meghalaya state capital of Shillong, confirms the findings of many previous studies – that vaping is much safer than smoking.
The team carried out a systematic investigation of published data on vaping, and concluded that vapour products present “minimum health and safety concerns” compared to cigarettes. They also confirmed that vaping works as an alternative for smokers who want to quit but can’t. So far this is a small crack in India’s relentlessly anti-vaping medical establishment, but with luck it will spread.
UK quit service hands out vape vouchers
Another NHS-run stop smoking service in the UK has moved to become completely vape-friendly, and recognises the ability of vapour products to help smokers give up the habit. Quit4Life, based in Hampshire and covering Gosport, Havant and Fareham, was one of the first services to accept that vaping had a role to play, and now they’ve gone a step further.
From now on, smokers who want to switch to vaping will be able to get a £25 voucher from Quit4Life that can be used to buy a starter kit from a local vape shop. According to services manager Julia Robson, the initiative is in support of Public Health England’s decision to actively support vaping as an alternative to smoking, as seen in last year’s Stoptober campaign.